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James Cleverly to fly to Rwanda to sign new treaty aimed at bolstering the government’s asylum plan


James Cleverly is due to arrive in Rwanda today to sign a new treaty which will bolster the Government’s flagship asylum policy.

The Home Secretary was thought to be heading to Kigali overnight aboard the Government’s Airbus jet, landing at about 8am UK time.

He is expected to sign a treaty which will seek to address concerns raised by the UK Supreme Court last month – and will be binding under international law.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said he is determined to get removals flights under way by the spring despite the court’s rejection of the scheme.

He aims to overcome judicial objections with the treaty and new measures which will be set out in emergency legislation.

The number of small boat migrants who have reached Britain so far this year has topped 29,000 – eclipsing the figure for the whole of 2021.

James Cleverly is due to arrive in Rwanda today to sign a new treaty which will bolster the Government’s flagship asylum policy

James Cleverly is due to arrive in Rwanda today to sign a new treaty which will bolster the Government’s flagship asylum policy

Cleverly is expected to sign a treaty which will seek to address concerns raised by the UK Supreme Court last month – and will be binding under international law

Cleverly is expected to sign a treaty which will seek to address concerns raised by the UK Supreme Court last month – and will be binding under international law

More than 1,000 arrived across the Channel in the five days to Sunday, bringing the running total since the start of the year to 29,090 (File Photo)

More than 1,000 arrived across the Channel in the five days to Sunday, bringing the running total since the start of the year to 29,090 (File Photo)

More than 1,000 arrived across the Channel in the five days to Sunday, bringing the running total since the start of the year to 29,090. By comparison, the whole of 2021 saw 28,526 migrants arrive. However, this year’s figure is still down by a third on last year’s record number of 45,755.

In a ruling last month, judges said the £140million scheme was unlawful on the grounds there was a risk that asylum seekers could be sent from Rwanda to a country where they may be put at risk.

In a further move to reassure judges about the scheme, British Government lawyers could be stationed in Rwandan courts to bolster the country’s asylum system and the appeals mechanism.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said the Home Office was looking ‘very carefully’ at the idea of sending lawyers to Rwanda to address concerns about the legal system there. ‘Discussions around beefing up their legal expertise, their legal capacity, have certainly been part of the talks,’ a Whitehall source told the Daily Telegraph.

Once the treaty is signed, ministers are expected to unveil emergency legislation setting out further moves to allow removals flights to finally take off.

The number of small boat migrants who have reached Britain so far this year has topped 29,000 – eclipsing the figure for the whole of 2021 (File Photo)

The number of small boat migrants who have reached Britain so far this year has topped 29,000 – eclipsing the figure for the whole of 2021 (File Photo)

It is understood there has been no decision on whether the new Bill will take the ‘full-fat’ option and withdraw parts of UK immigration law from the European Convention on Human Rights and other treaties. Alternatively, the measures could simply state Rwanda is a safe country – in a bid to counteract the Supreme Court ruling.

Downing Street yesterday denied reports that Rwanda is set to be paid an extra £15million for the scheme. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘Certainly I don’t recognise that figure of £15million, there’s been no request for additional funding for the treaty made by Rwanda, or not offered by the UK Government.’

Mr Cleverly told the Commons last night: ‘Immigration policy must be fair, legal, and sustainable. That’s why we are also taking the fight to illegal immigration.

‘Our plan to stop the boats is working. Small boat arrivals are down by a third, even as illegal migration across Europe is on the rise.’

Biggest ever clampdown ‘will slash migration by 300,000’ 

By David Barrett and Jason Groves 

James Cleverly last night vowed ‘enough is enough’ as he unveiled tough reforms designed to slash net migration by 300,000 a year.

After a battering from the Tory backbenches over record levels of immigration, the Home Secretary pledged a five-point plan would lead to the ‘biggest ever reduction in net migration’.

Hailing ‘the most substantial package of legal migration reforms this country has ever seen,’ he said care workers will be barred from bringing family members to Britain.

The salary threshold for a work visa will rise by £12,500 to more than £38,000 a year. And to stop immigration ‘undercutting British workers’, he vowed to ‘scrap cut-price shortage labour from overseas’ by ending the 20 per cent salary discount for sectors with labour shortages, and slashing the list of eligible roles.

Critics warned the measures may not take effect soon enough to make a difference to migration figures before the next general election.

Mr Cleverly said the proposals – due to come into force in April – also expanded upon previous commitments to bar most foreign students from bringing family members to the UK.

After unveiling the plans, he was expected to fly to Rwanda last night to sign a new treaty in the hope of seeing deportation flights for small boat migrants begin as soon as possible.

Mr Cleverly told MPs: ‘Enough is enough. We’ve got to bring these numbers down. In total this package, plus our reduction in student dependants, will mean around 300,000 fewer people will come in future years than have come to the UK last year.’

He said the measures were only possible thanks to the historic Brexit vote. ‘When our country voted to leave the European Union, we voted to take back control of our borders,’ he said.

‘Thanks to this Conservative Government, we now have a points-based immigration system through which we control who comes to the UK.’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said: ‘This is the biggest clampdown on legal migration ever. It doesn’t prevent us going further should we chose to do so in the future.’

Under the plan – announced days after it emerged net migration had hit an all-time high of 745,000 last year – the bar on care workers bringing dependants is expected to cut net migration by about 100,000 a year at current levels, it is understood.

Raising the salary threshold for a work visa to £38,700 is expected to slash a further 50,000 a year from the net total.

Crucially, care workers will be excluded from the salary hike in a bid to avoid worsening labour shortages in the sector. A review of the jobs on the ‘shortage occupation list’ will aim to cut the number of sectors it applies to.

Mr Cleverly also announced he will toughen family visas which allow relatives of foreign nationals to come here.

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who was sacked three weeks ago, said the announcement was a ‘step in the right direction’ but was ‘too late’.

‘I put forward similar measures six times in the last year,’ she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. ‘I’m glad that the PM has finally agreed to introducing some of them now but the delay has reduced their impact.’

Mrs Braverman has previously accused the PM of reneging on a private agreement to cut migration, including a deal to raise the salary threshold to £40,000.

The new package echoes proposals put forward by former PM Boris Johnson in his Daily Mail column last month, when he advocated a £40,000 salary threshold and said business owners who had become accustomed to accessing cheap foreign labour should be ‘called out’.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said Mr Cleverly’s plan was an ‘admission of years of total failure by the Government’.



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